Follow up to Bringing Life to Your Game World and Bringing Life to Your Game World - Part II
I’ve talked about this before, but it kind of bugs me that when an army “loses” a war, they are often considered to all be dead. That’s not even slightly realistic and sucks if you are trying to create adventures. Just because they lost doesn’t mean that they all died. How many surrendered? How many escaped or deserted? How many were off doing other missions and haven’t been faced with the opposing army? Even if it is just a couple of units that were defending towns or territories that are now owned by the winners, there must be some guys who are still wild and free.
As important as it is to remember that there are some soldiers and other common guys out there who now need a new occupation, there will also be some leaders who escaped death or capture. These guys can now serve as a rallying point for any of the common soldiers who are still out there. Even if these battle captains are captured, they might serve as a rallying point as a couple hundred soldiers from the losing side might be willing to spring them from their jail (and maybe a bunch of extra POWs as well).
Did you make up the battle captains in your last war? Some of us do and some don’t. What’s a battle captain? Well, the army is probably run by a general who reports to and strategizes with the king (or whoever). The battle captains are the officers who report to the general or report to the officers who report to him. If the army really does get decimated, then maybe the only remaining battle captains are a couple of squad sergeants or legionnaires. The highest ranking of these guys will be the heads of the individual troops. Even if it is just a guy in charge of the archers, while another is in charge of the cavalry and a third has the infantry, there will likely be officers under the general. Even if you didn’t make these guys up before the big battle took place, afterwards, you can still add them in. Normally you do this by something like: They bring word to you that Captain Fleyr of the enemy forces is rumored to be hiding in the village of North Uptown. Captain Fleyr was in charge of all the enemy’s cavalry, and he is credited with that daring/cunning sweep that nearly took out your left flank during the decisive battle. They believe that he and his most loyal men fought their way clear of the battle. There were only a dozen of them when they fled, but they may be gathering numbers.
Need some drama after the massive climax of the huge war? Figure out what these battle captains are going to do. They might turn bandit. They might try to spark a rebellion. They might become a mercenary force. Meanwhile the guys who won the war are now going to have to defend every place that might get raided, so their forces are going to be severely strained. Perfect time to hire a party of adventurers to put down that rebel scum!